Geki Russo

Full Name:
Giacomo "Geki" Russo
Born:
23rd October 1937
Milan, Lombardy
Died:
18th June 1967 (Aged 29)
Caserta, Campania, F3 race
Nationality:
Italian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

“Geki” originally used a pseudonym in the hope he could hide his racing activities from a well-to-do and disapproving Milanese family. However, that proved impossible as he became more-and-more successful in Italy and he eventually entered his home Grand Prix on three occasions during the 1960s.

Success in Formula Junior

Russo began racing a Formula Junior Stanguellini in 1959 and he won first time out. Second in the 1960 Monaco support race, he was crowned as 1961 Italian FJ Champion with Scuderia Madunina’s Lotus 18. Russo dominated the series for the next two years but a rumoured Ferrari F2 contract for 1964 failed to materialise.

Formula 1 with Rob Walker and Team Lotus

Instead, he won the 1964 Italian F3 title with a Scuderia Sorocaima De Sanctis-Ford. He also hired Rob Walker’s Brabham BT11-BRM for that year’s Italian GP but did not qualify.

A works Lotus driver for the 1965 and 1966 Italian GPs, he retired on his debut and finished ninth a year later. Those were his only two GP starts but Russo was also an original member of the Autodelta Alfa Romeo team in sports and touring cars from 1964. He won his class in the 1966 Sebring 12 Hours when sharing an Alfa Romeo TZ2 with Gaston Andrey.

He also continued to race in F3 and was the victim of a tragic race at Caserta in 1967. Two cars collided during the final and one of the drivers (Fehr Beat) ran down the track to warn others that the road ahead was blocked. He is believed to have been hit by the unsighted Russo whose red Matra MS5-Ford then crashed into a wall and caught fire. With no marshals on hand, “Geki” Russo died before help could arrive.

Beat was also killed and another six cars crashed in the mêlée. “Tiger” (Romano Perdomi) suffered injuries from which he too succumbed three days later in hospital in Naples. It had indeed been a tragic day.